Much Ado About Joss

Joss Whedon
Joss Whedon (Photo credit: perobinson)

He’s at it again, that Joss Whedon fellow. He’s making another ‘masterpiece’ that doesn’t follow any kind of formulaic plan or career path arc. But are we surprised? No is the only obvious answer here. As Nathan Fillion himself says in the gag reel of Serenity, Joss is Boss. And we believe him.

The genius of Joss Whedon should have been made evident with the theatrical release of Buffy the Vampire Slayer film in 1992. Unfortunately the moron (that’s right I said it) of a producer decided that the workings of the then younger Whedon weren’t good enough and re-imaged the film and destroyed it.

Ultimately the woman did Joss a favour. In her wanton destruction of what could have been, she cleared the way for Joss to re-introduce the world to Buffy Summers and her ‘Scooby gang’ cast of regulars. The success of the small screen Buffy led the way for an almost inevitable spin-off series for the vanquished Angel. The rest, as they say, is history.

Both Buffy and Angel ran for several seasons. Buffy continued to enthral fans for seven seasons while Angel only managed five seasons with the fifth and last season being, arguably, the best. Joss then moved on to the fan favourite Firefly.

Unfortunately the sponsoring network’s biorhythms were really out of whack, either that or there was a ‘We hate Joss’ vendetta type thing going on, because the show got axed almost before it got started.

Dollhouse was next in line and it too fell foul of it’s sponsoring network (with a lot of help from said network, it has to be said) and once again Joss was ‘out in the cold.’

But Joss-is-boss Whedon didn’t sit there crying into his bowl of Cheerio’s. He then came up with the ‘fan-backed’ plan for Serenity. The labour of love that gave all the Firefly fans closure for the characters that they had fallen in love with.  Then Joss turned to the internet.

Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and it’s small cadre of players was simply too great for  words. Nathan Fillion as Captain Hammer (“The hammer is my penis.”), Dr Horrible was Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser all grown up and comically evil) and Felicia Day was Penny the mutual love interest that both men wanted. Great webisodes and great fun.

Joss then stepped up to the plate and hit a Babe Ruth type home run with The Avengers Assemble. That Whedon-esque magic garnered an over one billion dollar box office return that will ensure his name conjures up images of platinum success. I won’t mention the other successful film that had Joss’s fingerprints all over it, The Cabin in the Woods, that was released in the same year as Avengers.

Now Joss has made his own ‘homage’ and re-imaging of the Bard’s Much Ado About Nothing into a ‘Bargain Basement Backyard Production’ with Whedon regulars Nathan Fillion, Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, and Tom Lenk (whom I thought was going to be doomed to do Pepsi Max adverts indefinitely) and a whole lot of other very capable actors.

Looking at stills on IMDb it appears that the film will be in black and white. Nothing new there you say, Young Frankenstein and Schindler’s List were both in black and white. No what will be new, will be what Joss brings to the table in his writing and directing skills.

I am looking forward to seeing this last product of Joss’s creative output. I know that I will not be disappointed.

On a completely different note, I read that the idiot producer that ruined the first ‘Buffy’ film has allegedly dropped her plans for a Buffy The Vampire Slayer movie based on Joss’s television program. There is, it seems, a celluloid God after all. Our ‘cheer-leading’ heroine will remained unsullied and forever associated with Sarah Michelle Gellar and her loyal gang of ‘slayerettes.’

I haven’t mention the many other projects that Joss-is-boss Whedon can lay claim to, if you want to see his impressive credit’s list check out the link to IMDb or Wikipedia. Or you could just watch re-runs of his television masterpieces.

Joss Whedon: The Genius Behind Buffy

How the Internet Changed the Way We Watch Television

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV series)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The internet has changed the way that we view television. I first noticed the increased presence of the ‘net’ while Buffy the Vampire Slayer was in its relative infancy of seasons.

By the time the series had moved up a gear or two and was entering its third season, my daughter started buying Buffy ‘fan-zines.’ The first thing I noticed was the magazine’s inclusion of several different sites that were forums for fans.

If you logged onto the net, you could access these ‘fan-sites’ and either read the current thread of discussion about the program or enter the debate. The latter choice could be a little disconcerting.

While reading the intense and sometimes heated discussions on the forum I noticed that a few of the more fervent fans would get excited enough to give a figurative ‘bitch-slap’ to folks who disagreed with them.

I, for some reason, thought that these ‘fan-sites’ were indicative of the “Buffy-verse” alone and therefore rather unique. But the internet was a great place for fans of many different television programs to meet and discuss or even bitch about the latest episode that they’d just watched.

Certain programs listened to these fan groups and acted upon  the fan feedback.  Lost, for instance, listened when fans  relayed that the introduction  of two new major characters in the program had resulted in characters that they despised. Producers acted quickly and killed off these two new characters in the same season that they were introduced.

Going back for a moment to the verse of Joss Whedon, it is imperative to mention the huge internet support for Firefly when it was unceremoniously axed by its network. The fans of Joss’s fledgling western/science fiction show rose in mass to show support for the program and to petition the network for a reprieve.

While the fan protest wasn’t enough to save the beleaguered show, it was enough to convince both Joss and the studios that an audience existed for a film. And thus Serenity was created to give the loyal fans some closure for a program that they’d grown to love.

Independent film producers learned very quickly of the power of the internet in areas of marketing their products and drumming up interest in upcoming film releases. Paranormal Activity is one such “internet” driven film but it was by no means the first in a long list of films that would use the net as the perfect advertising tool.

The American re-make of The Grudge (Ju-on) used the web to show ‘diaries’ of the actors and set up a site with a ‘tour’ of the grudge house and a fictional account of one of the producers.

Apart from certain network affiliates I have not seen any increased activity across the board for web ‘snake oil publicity’ with the  exception of The Walking Dead. AMC vigorously utilized the internet in the upcoming months to the pilot  air date of The Walking Dead. They continued the vigorous net campaigning well into the second season.

Of course I’ve not mentioned the new “webisodes” that have taken the net by storm. The hugely popular The Guild, brainchild of Felicia Day is just one of many. Joss Whedon also did a webisode series which coincidentally had Felicia Day in a major role,  Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog was another hugely successful venture into this new medium.

I have postulated before about how YouTube was becoming the ‘new’ television and now believe that it’s not just YouTube but the internet that is ‘becoming’ television. Either by replacing it as another medium of entertainment or influencing the direction that existing shows are going.

Think I’m exaggerating? Just check out the first related article, Dr. Horrible is going to be on television in October.